Homeward Bound Arizona musicians pay tribute to Simon and Garfunkel

In their tribute show “Homeward Bound: The Best of Simon and Garfunkel,” Mike Yarema, left, and Walker Foard perform well-known and obscure songs from Simon and Garfunkel. (Photo by John Sepp)

As teens, Mike Yarema and William Foard developed a love and appreciation for Simon and Garfunkel’s music. Now, the two men are bringing their music to the Tucson stage.

“Homeward Bound: The Best of Simon and Garfunkel” will celebrate the award-winning act’s music with a live band on Monday, June 17, at the Gaslight Theatre as part of the venue’s Monday Night Concert series.

The band members are from the Tributaries, with whom Foard performs tribute shows for artists such as the Eagles, the Monkees and Neil Diamond. Yarema also honors the Blues Brothers and Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Gaslight Theatre in Tucson and the Gaslight Music Hall in Oro Valley. 

During their Simon and Garfunkel show, Yarema and Foard will perform favorites such as “Mrs. Robinson,” “Bridge over Troubled Water” and “The Sounds of Silence” as well as deeper cuts from the duo’s career. They also throw in tunes from Paul Simon’s solo career as well as music from the Everly Brothers, who inspired Simon and Garfunkel. 

Foard says the shows are pretty much the same, except for the interactions with the audience.

“Most tribute bands, they don’t change their shows up very much because there’s so much to learn and so much to know. And once you get the show done, you are fine tuning the show,” Foard says. 

The two men started performing the Simon and Garfunkel show in November 2012. They have done the show in different parts of Arizona, including Yuma and Phoenix. 

They knew each other from their work at the Gaslight Theatre. Yarema’s background is as an actor and singer, and Foard is a musician. 

Yarema says this show is special because Simon and Garfunkel meant so much to them. Growing up, Foard learned to play Simon’s guitar parts note for note, which is challenging because of the fingerpicking.

“The accuracy, the intricacy, the way that he combines melodies and the chords, he’s just a really good guitar player,” Foard says.

“You’re fingerpicking all of the songs, and you have to have a certain amount of dexterity and accuracy to do them justice.”

When Yarema was developing his voice, he mimicked others, leading to his tribute career.

Although Yarema dons a wig to resemble Garfunkel, the duo does not try to present itself as Simon and Garfunkel during the show.

While there are some songs, such as “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” where they can improvise slightly, they try to stay true to the music.

“To try to emulate the sound, it’s never going to be perfect, but we’ve found ways to get as close as possible,” Yarema says.

Yarema says Simon and Garfunkel’s music has a timeless quality because of the verses’ poetic quality. 

“The words have meaning, and that’s why people like the songs. That’s why the songs bring back memories for them,” Yarema says. “That’s why it’s easier for us to pull those off because they are meaningful for us as well.”   

more info:

What: Homeward Bound:
The Best of Simon and Garfunkel

When: 6 p.m. Monday, June 17

Where: Gaslight Theatre,

7010 E. Broadway Boulevard

Cost: $22.95 general admission; $12.95 for children and $20.95 for seniors, students and military

Info: 886-9428,